Skip to main content

Steidinger Scholars

The Steidinger Scholars program was established in honor of Dr. Karen Steidinger, a world-renowned pioneering woman in harmful algal bloom research and a formative figure in the history of FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). Dr. Steidinger’s career includes numerous significant contributions to dinoflagellate research, which have been acknowledged by her peers through the naming of the organism that causes red tides in Florida, Karenia brevis, after her.

The goal of the Steidinger Scholars program is to inspire students to explore careers in fisheries and wildlife research through experiential learning. Successful applicants participate in 3-month long part- to full-time paid internships during summer, fall or winter terms. Mentored by FWRI scientists, future investigators work on a variety of projects that inform the protection, conservation, and management of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources.

The program is open to all recent high school graduates or new college students (years 1-2) of all genders from all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. Successful candidates will have the ability to work in a team environment, adapt to changing work environments and priorities, and work in a range of settings including office, laboratory and outdoors in all weather conditions. Duties/tasks are position specific to the opportunity but include:

  • Direct project activities such as training in and assisting with field and laboratory duties to ongoing research and management projects and programs
  • Shadowing staff and researchers in a variety of research areas
  • Participating in training, workshops, and other education and career development planning activities
  • Presenting on the experience

Qualifications:

  • A recent or expected high school graduate, or 1-2 year college student; must be 18 years of age or older by the start of the internship
  • Willingness to learn
  • Good interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Good written and oral communication
  • A passion for and interest in science. Prior learning or experience is not required.

Women and students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must complete the application package and submit to the intern coordinator, including:

  • A cover letter expressing interest in the specific opportunity (refer to Opportunity #) being applied for; include why the position is of interest, what you hope to gain from it, why you feel you are a good candidate.
  • Multiple applications are allowed but a separate application must be submitted for each opportunity of interest.
  • A letter of support from a past or current teacher of why you are a good candidate for the program (include contact information for this reference).
  • A resume that includes information on experience OR abilities including hobbies, interests, recreational activities.

Submission Deadlines

  • March 1 for summer positions; 3-months beginning mid-May to mid-August

All positions are paid at an hourly rate of $15/hour

Please submit application items as an e-mail attachment to
Interns@MyFWC.com
. Indicate “Steidinger Scholars” and Opportunity number in the subject line.

If electronic submission is not possible, hard copies can be mailed to:
Internship Coordinator “Steidinger Scholars”
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020

Steidinger Scholars Positions

Center for Conservation Social Science Research/Freshwater Fisheries – Gainesville
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-01

This is a great opportunity for a student interested in learning about freshwater fish, freshwater mussels, field techniques for collecting research and monitoring data, social science, and the overall purpose of fish and wildlife conservation. Interns will be paired with researchers to learn about the human dimension aspects of fisheries science, sample freshwater fish and mussel communities using a variety of gears, participate in post-sampling lab work, and assist with data entry. Participants will be exposed to a wide range of freshwater research and monitoring projects being conducted in north-central Florida.

Location: Gainesville, FL

Hours: Part-time opportunity (average 20 hours per week)

Dates: mid-May to mid-August (start and end dates TBD)

Supervisor: Variety of projects with several mentors

Tasks: Specific job responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Sample freshwater fish using a variety of methods including electrofishing, trawling, and seining
  • Identify and age freshwater fish
  • Map aquatic plants from freshwater lakes in north-central Florida
  • Participate in trophy bass research and monitoring
  • Sample freshwater mussels
  • Assist with non-native species surveys
  • Trailer and operate boats (*requires valid driver’s license)
  • Assist with human dimensions data collection, such as through surveys or interviews

Freshwater Fisheries – Eustis
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-02

This is a great opportunity for a student interested in learning about freshwater fish, aquatic plants, field techniques for collecting research and monitoring data, and the overall purpose of fisheries conservation. Interns will join biologists to sample freshwater fish and aquatic plant communities using a variety of gears, participate in post-sampling lab work, and assist with data entry. Participants will be exposed to a wide range of freshwater research and monitoring projects being conducted in central Florida.

Location: Eustis, Florida

Hours: Part-time or full-time opportunity available (indicate preference in application letter)

Dates: mid-May to mid-August (start and end dates TBD)

Supervisor: Variety of projects with several mentors

Tasks: Specific job responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Evaluate the condition of Largemouth Bass held in live wells during fishing tournaments
  • Collect freshwater fish to evaluate contaminants (e.g., mercury)
  • Conduct water quality and zooplankton monitoring
  • Map aquatic plants in freshwater lakes throughout Florida
  • Perform electrofishing for fish communities throughout Florida
  • Perform radio telemetry of freshwater fish
  • Conduct non-native species surveys
  • Trailer and operate boats (*requires valid driver’s license)

Freshwater Fisheries – Garcon
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-03

This is a great opportunity for a student interested in learning about freshwater fish and mussels, field techniques for collecting research and monitoring data, and the overall purpose of fish and wildlife conservation. Interns will join biologists to sample freshwater fish and mussel communities using a variety of gears, participate in post-sampling lab work, and assist with data entry. Participants will be exposed to a wide range of freshwater research and monitoring projects being conducted in the Florida panhandle.

Location: Garcon Point, Florida

Hours: Part-time or full-time opportunity available (indicate preference in application letter)

Dates: mid-May to mid-August (start and end dates TBD)

Supervisor: Variety of projects with several mentors

Tasks: Specific job responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Using acoustic telemetry to locate tagged Alligator Gar and Gulf Sturgeon
  • Electrofishing some of the most diverse freshwater rivers in the state
  • Evaluating habitat renovations sites on freshwater lakes
  • Gill netting for Alligator Gar and Gulf Sturgeon
  • Evaluating habitat suitability for state listed Bluenose Shiner
  • Interviewing anglers at boat ramps to measure effort, catch, and harvest of freshwater fish species.
  • Conducting mussel monitoring and research
  • Trailering and operating boats (*requires valid driver’s license)

Wildlife Research, Crocodilian Research and Management - Gainesville
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-04

This opportunity is for a highly motivated individual to aid the FWC Crocodilian Research Team with nighttime spotlight alligator surveys. Surveys are conducted during the Spring (May 1st to June 15th) and Summer (July 1st to August 14th) field seasons, and interns will be required to travel around the state to different waterbodies (lakes, rivers, and man-made impoundments) to assist our wildlife biologists’ alligator surveys as data recorder from an airboat or outboard motored boat. During a typical survey night, interns would assist with prepping the vessel for launch, recording data correctly into a tablet form as the vessel operator gives alligator size and count data during the survey over the communications headset, and safely storing equipment after the surveys. A typical work week involves surveys Monday to Thursday nights, usually from around 7:30 PM until ~ 1 AM, excluding the drive back to the hotel or office. When not conducting surveys, participants will work towards earning their Florida boaters card, CPR & First Aid certification through the American Red Cross, and complete agency training for Watercraft & Trailering Safely. Interns will also assist with and learn about equipment maintenance and safety.

*This position often requires late nights and a flexible schedule that is dependent on the changing weather and unpredictable field conditions, and a valid driver license.


Location: Gainesville, FL

Hours: Part-time opportunity (average 30hrs per week Monday to Thursday; shifting schedule for on-site training during days and surveys during evenings typically ending around 1-2AM)

Dates:  May 1 (preferred) – August 14

Supervisor: TBA

Tasks/Position Requirements: The primary responsibilities will be assisting with nighttime alligator surveys in the field, including but not limited to:

  • Travel to and conduct surveys in various freshwater bodies throughout the state
  • Record survey data 2-3 days per week
  • Prepare vessels for launch
  • Maintain and safely store equipment

Successful candidates should:

  • Have an interest in Florida’s crocodilians, wetlands, and wildlife research and management
  • Hold a valid Driver’s License and clean driving record
  • Be comfortable working in remote locations at night, often in adverse conditions (high heat and humidity, flying and biting insects, or poor weather conditions should they arise)
  • Be comfortable lifting up to 50 lbs of gear or equipment
  • Be comfortable using a tablet to record data accurately as it is called out

Wildlife Research, Sea Turtle Nesting Program - Tequesta
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-05

This opportunity is for a detailed-oriented intern to assist the Sea Turtle Nesting Program with the field component of a research project on sea turtle hatchling survivability. This project aims to characterize nest-to-surf mortality of sea turtle hatchlings on high-density nesting beaches, sex ratio and hatchling fitness to better estimate hatchling production in Florida and inform population modeling. Successful candidates will be task-oriented individuals that can work independently and in a team in a field setting.

*This position requires a valid driver license.

Location: Tequesta, FL

Hours: Part- to full-time opportunity (30-40 hours/week)

Dates: mid-May to mid-August (start and end dates TBD)

Supervisor: Tonya Long

Tasks/Position Requirements: The primary responsibilities will be assisting with daytime and nighttime research tasks, including but not limited to:

  • Marking sea turtle nests
  • Monitoring hatchling emergence
  • Conducting post-emergence nest inventories
  • Assisting with data processing and analysis

Successful candidates should:

  • Have a willingness to work on the beach in adverse conditions (heat, rain, bugs), sometimes at night (with a partner) and on weekends, if needed
  • Have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite and are comfortable using mobile apps

Coastal Wetlands Research – St. Petersburg
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-06

This opportunity involves laboratory and field work for research focused on mangroves, marshes, and oyster reefs across Florida. Laboratory work will involve analysis of soil, plant, or water samples. Participants will work on current research projects within the coastal wetlands research group on topics such as coastal wetland and oyster reef mapping and monitoring, carbon sequestration, and response of mangroves to stress caused by hurricanes or climate change. Field work opportunities vary seasonally but may include in-state travel to assist with ongoing monitoring projects. Field work may include tasks such as plant identification and collection of water and soil samples. No experience is required as training is provided. Applicants should be detail-oriented, willing to learn a variety of techniques, and able to responsibly collect high-quality data for active research projects.

Location: St. Petersburg, Florida

Hours: Part-time opportunity (15 hours per week on average, more during field work)

Dates: mid-May to mid-August (start and end dates TBD)

Supervisors: Kara Radabaugh

Tasks: Specific job responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Performing lab analyses on soil and water samples; this may include loss-on-ignition analysis of organic matter in soil, grain size analysis of soil, and analysis of water samples for dissolved organic carbon content on a Shimazu TOC-5050A total organic carbon analyzer
  • Managing databases and conducting data entry
  • Preparing stock solutions and standards
  • Cleaning and maintaining general laboratory spaces and glassware
  • Assisting with field work for ongoing monitoring projects (data recording, water sampling, coring, plant identification)

Successful candidates will:

  • Be able to participate in field work. Field work may be local or involve travel to other parts of Florida (travel costs will be reimbursed).
  • Be prepared for field work that may be strenuous. Field work involves hiking through mangroves with gear, and include mosquitoes, rain, and heat.

Harmful Algal Bloom Research – St. Petersburg
Opportunity #: FWRI SS-SU23-07

Details of this opportunity will be posted soon. Please check back.

Location: St. Petersburg, Florida

Hours: Anticipated part-time opportunity (25 hours per week on average)

Dates: mid-May to mid-August (start and end dates TBD)

Supervisors: TBD

Tasks: TBA